ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Two separate bills filed by lawmakers in Austin earlier this year has the recycling community in East Texas on edge.
Texas House Bill 876 and Senate Bill 437 are "relating to the method of payment for regulated material purchased by a metal recycling entity." It would require a person selling scrap metal to a recycling business to provide an address for the recycling company—but most importantly—to "compensate the of regulated material by check mailed to the seller at the Address…"
That means no more instant cash.
This move took Richard Castleberry, of Conroe, Texas, by surprise.
"People that scrap for a living, they're working their tail off," Castleberry said passionately. "They don't need to be waiting a month for a check."
Robert Barrios, who owns East Texas Recycling on U.S. Highway 69 South, learned about the senate bill and talked with State Senator Robert Nichols.
"It's going got change a lot for us," Barrios said by telephone. "It's going require us to have one person designated just to do the checks. That's going to cost us more than what it's worth." Barrios said Senator Nichols told him many people in his hometown of Jacksonville have also expressed displeasure with the senate bill.
Louis Havard, Jr, of Zavalla, and his wife Katrina have been recyclers for more than 30 years.
"We can't afford to be sitting around waiting 30 to 40 days for a check or whatever it is you know," said the career recycler.
"We come in and we work on a daily basis and expected to get paid on a daily basis. That's how we make our living.
Misti Fink, a secretary at East Texas Recycling said the bill is a big hassle for their customers, who are have little to no income.
"A lot of them come in here and only get like a dollar, not big amounts," Fink explained. "If they have to get a check and then there's a check cashing fee. There's nothing really left."
If either bill becomes law, workers here believe it will hurt them, too. Not only will they have more paperwork to process and more documentation to file with the State of Texas through the Texas Department of Public Safety, the delayed payment could impact their jobs.
"It will affect us by slowing business down and put us out of jobs," said worker Marcus Garza. "And we got bills and payments we've got to make, too."
This recycling business and others have launched petitions to kill the bills.
They are sending to Senator Robert Nichols and Representative Trent Ashby.
In February, Senate Bill 437 is was referred to the Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee, on which Senator Nichols serves.